In this undated photo provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in Catskill, N.Y., Michaelann Goodrich is shown. Goodrich, 32, of Cairo, NY, is facing charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing after police said she posed as a homeless teen and tried to enroll in high school classes. (Greene County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

32-year-old enrolls in U.S. high school as teen

School officials were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless

A 32-year-old woman faces felony charges for posing as a homeless teenager to enrol and attend classes at a high school in the Catskill Mountains, authorities said Friday as they tried to determine her motive.

Michaelann Goodrich presented herself as a 15-year-old to enrol in the Cairo-Durham school district 40 miles (64 kilometres) southwest of Albany last month, School Superintendent Anthony Taibi said Friday. Officials were skeptical of her story when Goodrich enrolled on Dec. 19 under the name “Riley Madison,” but they were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless, Taibi said.

“The regulation exists to ensure that students who are runaway or abducted youth get into an accountable, safe environment as quickly as possible,” Taibi said. “It has worked well, but this situation highlights a vulnerability that exists.”

READ MORE: Homeowner surprised when renter invites homeless camp to B.C. backyard

School officials contacted the sheriff’s office to launch an investigation, but in the meantime, Goodrich rode on a school bus, attended classes and had lunch at school on Dec. 21, before the holiday break, Taibi said.

“We made sure that under no circumstances was she not under the supervision of a staff member,” Taibi said.

Greene County Sheriff’s Investigator Joel Rowell said Goodrich, who lives in Cairo with her husband, was charged Dec. 28 with offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing. She was released from jail after a court appearance Thursday evening, to await further court action.

The public defender assigned to Goodrich didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

READ MORE: Okanagan teens get eviction notice in forest fort

Rowell said Goodrich and her husband previously lived in California and Washington state and it’s unclear how long they’ve been in Cairo. He said Goodrich has no job or children, but does have a diploma from a high school in California.

In the 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed,” Drew Barrymore plays a journalist who poses as a high school student to gather details for a story. But officials have no idea what Goodrich’s motivation was.

“She didn’t have an explanation,” Rowell said. “That’s why we’re reaching out to parents of kids who were with her in school or on the bus to find out what their interactions were, so we can try to determine her motive.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Smithers Christmas bird count results

Over 5,000 birds observed in annual count, including a couple local rarities.

Giesbrecht pleads not guilty in murder trial

Giesbrecht, 67, faces 1st-degree murder of Raymond Bishop, found May 2017 south of Francois Lake.

Bulkley Valley SD 54 superintendent leaving

Chris van der Mark has been superintendent with SD54 for eight years, and has hands full in Cariboo.

Council wants culture centre referendum

Library/gallery gets extra grant scrutiny for passing $10-million threshold.

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Most Read